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Politics

Bill Would Allow Aroostook County Casino

AUGUSTA, Maine — Legislation that would authorize a casino in the Houlton area in Aroostook County was portrayed as an economic development boon to the region by the sponsor of the measure, Rep. Henry Bear of the Houlton Band of Maliseets.

"The casino would provide a cascade of revenue sharing that will have a positive impact on the state of Maine, Aroostook County, the tribes and local municipalities," Bear says.

The measure drew opposition from the City of Bangor, home to the Hollywood Casino. They opposed the bill for not having a referendum provision that similar legislation creating the casinos in Bangor and Oxford required.

The city also expressed concerns about how much gambling Maine can support.

"The City of Bangor recognizes that there will be expansion of gaming in the state of Maine," says Deborah Cyr, Bangor finance director. "We want to ensure parity in the future expansions are held to similar standards that have been met to date. To that end, any expansion of gaming within the state of Maine must require a statewide vote as well as a local vote. We are also concerned about potential over saturation of the market."

The bill was one of ten that would expand gambling in Maine now before the Veterans and Legal Affairs committee.